New tests have proven that bear skins used for the Queen’s Guards’ caps, which are part of the ceremonial British military uniforms, are outperformed by a fake vegan fabric. However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has rejected the vegan versions used with a material called Ecopel claiming that it is not a suitable alternative to the fur from slaughtered Canadian black bears. They rejected the alternatives even when Ecope offered to supply the MoD with unlimited faux bear fur free of charge until 2030.

The animal rights organisation PETA, which has been campaigning on this issue for many years, commissioned the tests to an MoD-accredited laboratory, and they say they showed the faux fur was more durable, more comfortable, more sustainable, and dries more quickly. The fabrics expert, Atom Cianfarani, said: “I believe that the combination of Ecopel, along with a waterproof membrane such as Tyvek, will produce a fast-drying, lightweight cap that will be more comfortable and less toxic for the wearer.”  The government disputes the results and continues to refuse to consider switching away from bearskins despite it saying that it would stop buying real fur as soon as a “suitable and affordable alternative” became available. 

It beggars belief that the MoD continues using fur in a piece of a military uniform that is not needed for combat, but only for ceremonial occasions, despite cheaper and better alternatives seemingly existing. But that is not surprising because the MoD still allows hunts on their land despite the evidence that trail hunting is used as a cover for illegal hunting, suggesting that perhaps this department is the least wildlife-friendly department of the government.  There is an official petition that British citizens can sign to replace the real bearskins used for the Queen’s Guard’s caps with faux fur. It has already reached over 78,000 signatures and the deadline to reach the 100,000 signatures to trigger a Parliamentary debate ends on 6th July 2022.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.